Effective Listening and the Leadership in the Army

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Effective Listening And The Leadership In The Army
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Impact of the Army Leader's Effective Listening
  • Soldier Engagement with Effective Listening by the Leader
  • Conclusion


The purpose of this essay is to inform the reader about effective listening as a leader. The United States Army uses effective listening to better lead Soldiers. There are many ways you can use effective listening to make you a better leader. Effective listening is where you not only listen to the word, but you use your other senses to process and feel what the person is saying. One way to listen effectively would be to show that you care. Another way to display effective listening is by being empathetic. As a leader, you should be engaging and value what the speaker is saying. In addition, you should also be non-judgmental. This text is about effective listening and the leader Army.

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The Impact of the Army Leader's Effective Listening

The reason showing that you care makes you an effective listener is because, when you care about your Soldiers, they usually work harder and try to exceed your expectations.  Soldiers want to be led by those who sincerely care about who they are and what they represent to the team and the Army.  Do not just view your Soldiers as objects and assets for your accomplishments, but as people and treasured resources who bring distinctive experiences and skills not necessarily limited to the task. Caring is an essential aspect of effective listening, using it will not only make you a better leader but an overall better person.

Every day can be stressful and full of potential life-altering events. Now add the stresses of the Army and adhering to the rank structure, and following orders no matter what you have going on in your personal life. Every one of your Soldiers processes and handles these issues differently. It is your responsibility as a leader to be empathetic to your problems. Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within his or her frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. Empathy is one of the most powerful ways to show that you are listening to your Soldier. Many people feel that it makes you weak to show emotions, when in fact it shows your strength and experience as a leader. Some of the most influential leaders displayed empathy in all of their endeavors. One quote that describes this very well is “Great leaders know how to balance heart and head.”

Soldier Engagement with Effective Listening by the Leader

The best way to be engaging is to listen to your Soldier's opinions and ask questions that challenge them to broaden their perspectives and encourage them to elaborate on their point of view. An effective way to show your Soldiers that you are engaging is to allow them to put their ideas into practice. For example, say your squad has a mission to breach an obstacle and provide overwatch for the rest of your platoon to assault the objective. When you have an initial brief and one of your Soldiers comes up with a different plan on how to breach the obstacle and provide superior overwatch, you don’t just say no you listen and use his plan. Doing this will let him or her know that you are acknowledging their ideas. This will build more trust and squad cohesion. This is an extremely important quality to have as a leader.

Being non-judgmental is much harder than it sounds, but it is crucial to be an effective listener. When leaders judge it shows how immature they are and how unwilling they are to embrace differences in other people. Leaders are sometimes too quick to criticize other people’s ideas and perspectives. When you judge someone’s idea, you are unable to learn anything new. Another reason it is imperative to be non-judgmental is, say you have been working well with one squad and for some reason, you are moved to a new squad with a completely new group of Soldiers if you do not accept new approaches or the Soldier's ideas you will have a much harder time accomplishing the mission at hand. With the new changes coming to the Army if a leader is not willing to adapt to new situations and cannot grow complacent.


In conclusion, effective listening and the leader Army is by far one of the most important aspects of the Army. Here are some statistics that will help you understand how important listening is. Eighty-five percent of what we know we have learned through listening. Individuals commonly listen at a twenty-five percent comprehension rate. On a typical business day, we spend forty-five percent of our time listening, thirty percent of our time talking, sixteen percent reading, and nine percent writing. Less than two percent of all professionals have had formal education or learning to understand and improve listening skills and techniques. All of these techniques above will help you become an amazing leader and will not only have an impact on your Soldiers but on the whole Army as an organization. By being a better NCO, you set the standard for the next generation of leaders.

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